Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Definition of "Clown Show"

Sorry for the long absence. There have almost been too many items to chime in on. For the record, I believe Yahoo caves and will ultimately be very grateful for the MSFT offer in light of Q1's numbers. Take AOL's implosion to the bank - cue Bugsy Siegel trying to sell 300% of the Flamingo. And I'm curious if Michael Barrett was spending most of his time at FIM herding cats - he's too smart to sit by and let the pezzonovante dictate his fate.

Speaking of which, I've observed, and started to chuckle in disbelief, at the gyrations underway at Tribune in the face of massive financial challenges. And despite the death spiral well underway at NYT, Gannett and McClatchy, you've got to hand it to a firm that hands off its digital strategy to half a dozen exiles from a dying medium WHO HAVE ABSOLUTLEY NO ONLINE EXPERIENCE. Who decreed Clear Channel as the Wharton for Interactive? Point me to a business in the online arena that Randy Michaels has salvaged, let alone turned a profit. This debacle will reach cartoon-like proportions and the Tribune employees footing the bulk of the bill should start penning B-School case studies of what not to do.

But more broadly, I have to throw the flag on this most deadly of combinations here: arrogance and ignorance. It is phenomenally insulting for those of us who have been in online media for 10+ years that admitted amateurs are given the authority, and $250k+ salaries, to navigate and determine policy through the digital landscape. The CCU pipeline must be frothing at the mouth like free agents signing with the Redskins - nod along and get paid BIG. Yet ask yourself this question: would the reverse be at all possible? Will Sam Zell annoint of a VP from Digitas or Google with the role of running his printing presses? More re-arranging of deck chairs...


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